Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra originally formed conjoining seven islands in Arabian Sea namely Colaba, Fort, Byculla, Matunga, Worli, Parel and Mahim named as Bombay. With progress of time through reclamations and extensions the city has developed into Greater Mumbai. People world over still calls it Bombay. It bears nicknames such as The city of dreams, Commercial capital of India, Entertainment capital of India and so forth. With such prominence in the Indian and global sphere, it boasts of its fair share of landmarks, featuring a mix of nature, art, culture and architecture. Some of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai that a traveler must include are:
The Gateway of India, Mumbai
Speaking of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai, the first name that comes in mind is the Gateway of India. It has become almost synonymous with Mumbai. It holds historical significance as it was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay in December 1911, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Governor of Bombay himself Sir George Sydenham Clarke in 31 March 1911. It lies on the southern part of Mumbai on the waterfront in Apollo Bunder. This iconic monument portrays a good historic illustration of inter-communal respect. The design of the monument reflects architectural styles of both Hindu and Muslim culture. The arch of the monument is built in Muslim style whereas the decorations depict that of Hindus. The name Gateway of India stands true to itself as in earlier times when sea route was the main way of travelling different countries, the first visible monument that the visitors could locate in India was the Gateway of India.
As it stands on the seashore, one gets an excellent view of the Arabian Sea. Huge number of people, both tourists as well as locals turn up. Street entertainment, photographers, balloon sellers, vendors offering mouth watering food, luxary boats and horse-drawn carriages can make a short evening trip with family and friends to make your Mumbai trip really enjoyable and memorable. Not to miss a trip to the 5th century old rock cut temples, The Elephanta Caves, only 10 kilometers away in an island connected with regular ferry service from here.
Taj Palace and Tower, Mumbai
Close to the Gateway of India, stands another majestic landmark of Mumbai, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. Thought a 5-star hotel of international reputation is located within this great building, simply on the merit of its architectural brilliance it provides a fascinating specter to millions of tourists, at least from external point of view. It consists of two separate buildings, the Taj palace and the Tower being built at different times. The dome of the hotel is made from steel as used in the famous Eiffel tower. Considering it as one of the finest instances of modern amenities and technical aspects infused in the architectural heritage it definitely deserves to be regarded as greatest landmarks of Mumbai.
Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai
A prominent and one of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai is the Haji Ali Dargah a mosque and dargah (tomb). It is located in the southern part of Mumbai on an isle 500 meters off the Worli coast, in the middle of Worli Bay. It is joined to the coast by a narrow pathway. The dargah remains open all days, though its accessibility highly depends on the tides. During high tides the pathway which is not bounded by railings submerges under water making it unapproachable for a pilgrim to the dargah. Hence, one needs to visit the dargah during low tides. Treading the pathway with the sea on both sides is a lovely experience.
Constructed in 1431 in the memory of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, it also portrays perfectly Indo-Islamic architecture in its devotional attributes. It is said that before making a pilgrimage to Mecca, Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari gave up all his worldly belongings on which these famous dargah was built.
The shrine is visited by people round the year especially on Thursdays and Fridays, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, to get the blessings of the legendary saint. One can get a soulful feeling listening to the various Sufi musicians performing Qawwali at the Haji Ali Dargah.
The Mahalaxmi temple situated in Bhulabhai Desai Road, dedicated to Mahalaxmi, the Indian goddess of wealth is certainly one of the Greatest Landmarks of Mumbai. It is a famous temple in Mumbai where apart from Mahalaxmi, the goddesses Mahakali and Mahasaraswati are also worshipped.
Number of religious events takes place in the Mahalaxmi temple of which the festival of Nine Nights commonly known as Navaratri celebrated in October during the Deepavali is of special significance. Devotees from distant places come to offer prayers particularly during Navaratri. The temple remains open every day from 6 a.m to 9 p.m.
Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMCB)
The 19th century built Mumbai Municipal Corporation building located in DN Road is famous for its tall tower. The tower is 250 feet high which offers a good view of the city. The building featuring a number of doomed roofs with a cross on top of each roof reflects Gothic architecture.
The Asiatic Society Library in Mumbai dates back its origin to the 1830s is one of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai. The frontal part of the building built in Victorian style gives it a majestic new gothic look in the style of great higher learning places in West. The society library has a huge collection of books in the field of Asian studies which are considered rare and valuable. It also treasures important documents, artifacts, ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Persian language written in papers and palm leafs, gold coins used during the period of Kumaragupta , Shivaji and a rare Mohur (gold or silver plated coin in the currency system of royal eras in India) of Akbar and also a huge collection of maps. The Central Government of India grants an annual fund for the Asiatic Society Library. It remains open from Monday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.
Marine Drive of Mumbai
Marine Drive in simple words is a long driveway forming almost a semi-circle along the natural bay of the Arabian Sea. It is a road that connects Nariman Point with Malabar Hill at the other end. It is beautifully planned boulevard, the road built with concrete in 6-lane on reclaimed land along the natural bay. The grand promenade along the driveway is a breathing space for scores of people in natural cool sea breeze. One can observe the waves of the sea, in fact, at times get a sprinkle or even splash of sea water. The setting sun is a marvelous view from the promenade. On this stretch of the road lies number of star and smaller hotels and restaurants. Originally Parsi business community built exquisite buildings with art deco along the road joined later by members of other affluent community and celebrities. When the street is lighted at nightfall it looks like a pearl-studded necklace and hence it is famously compared by giving the name Queen's Necklace. The recorded name of the road is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose road and is the usual route taken from the main business hub the residential city. However, Marine Drive remains a great tourist pleasure.
Hanging Garden of Mumbai
Up on lower slopes of the Malabar hills one can find a perfectly knitted terraced garden as if hanging from the hill, the Hanging Garden. Though the famous ornamental name is Hanging Garden, its official name is Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens named after Ferozeshah Mehta a renowned barrister of his times. It is truly a delight for a nature lover. The hedges of the garden are carved in different shapes giving it an interesting look. The sun-set view from the garden over the Arabian Sea is quite mesmerizing. One can get a good panoramic view of the Marine Drive and the Chowpatty beach from the Hanging Garden. Taking a stroll in the green belt with the gentle breeze blowing from the Arabian Sea can be quite refreshing and rejuvenating. Its greenery along with the picturesque natural view makes it one of the attractive tourist spots in Mumbai.
Chowpaty Beach in Mumbai
One place that needs no introduction is the Chowpaty beach located in the northern end of the Marine Drive. It seems as if the beach becomes alive in the evening as visitors, locals irrespective of age pile up in the beach to enjoy and refresh themselves. This beach is popular mostly for its mouth-watering eateries offering variety of fast foods catering to ones taste. A tourist might be mistaken as in the evening the atmosphere transforms more like that of a fair or carnival with eateries all around from kulfi to tit-bits, vendors selling different items, ferry riding, pony-riding, monkey shows, families enjoying with their kids. No trip to Mumbai can be complete without a visit to the Chowpaty beach one of the greatest Landmarks of Mumbai.
The Bombay High Court
The High Court in Mumbai christened as The Bombay High Court remains as such though the name of the city was changed to Mumbai in 1995.The Bombay High Court building was designed by Col.J.A Fuller. It was built in 1870s architecture being gothic but built with British touch using old blue basalt. It is one of the oldest high courts building in India the first sitting taking place in January 1879. The court building is characterized with a high central tower. In the western side of the central tower are two octagonal towers crowned by the figures of Justice and Mercy.
Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai
Mumbai is the birth place of railways in India and Victoria Terminus popularly known as Bombay VT is the most famous historic railway station in India. It was almost over a decade completed way back in 1887. The building is of gothic architecture mixed meticulously with Indian style British architects working hand in hand with Indian counterparts to develop its unique look with a prominent dome as the crown of the building. Atop the huge dome is a lady figure with a torch signifying light of future. At the entrance gate there are mighty figures of lion and tiger made of stone guarding the establishment. The façade of the entrance are ornamented by figures of bird, animal and reptile that again gives a differential appearance from other landmarks. This architectural landmark in Mumbai was the headquarters of the Great India Peninsular Railways and was named Victoria Terminus in honour of Queen Victoria. Victoria Terminus has been renamed after the 17th century great Maratha king as Chatrapati Shivaji and now referred by public as CST. It serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways and is one of the busiest stations in Indian Railway at the service of millions of passengers. The station is nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This terminal handles local electric trains for daily commuters from within the city and suburban while catering to passenger and express trains to distant places.
World Trade Centre in Mumbai
The Mumbai World Trade Centre located in South Mumbai in an up market neighborhood named Cuffe Parade. It was built in 1970 comprising two towers, MRVDC and IDBI and famously known for the MRVDC building being the tallest building in South Asia until the 2010 measuring 156 m.
Considering its commercial significance and global presence it is surely one of the greatest Landmarks of Mumbai. Different state emporiums exhibit their products in the Arcade which includes a varied range from tea to carpets, jewelry to other decorative things. One can easily get a mini view of the varied cultural tastes of Indian states.
Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir Mumbai
The Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil on November 19, 1801 is one of the significant Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shri Ganesh. This two century old temple is considered as one of the richest temples in Mumbai. In Hindu mythology Ganesha portrayed as an elephant headed deity is considered "Siddhidata"or the God of knowledge, learning and prosperity and "vighnaharata" that is the remover of all obstacles.
The temple sculpture is quite magnificent. The idol of Shree Siddhivinayak was carved out of a single black stone and is 2'6" (750mm) high and 2' (600mm) wide with the trunk on the right. The wooden doors leading the sanctum are designed with images of the Ashtavinayak (the eight forms of the Lord Ganesha). The inner roof of the sanctum sanctorum is gold plated. There is a Hanuman temple inside the compound. It is believed that no Hindu religious ceremony is complete without offering prayers to Lord Ganesha.
One and all, from politicians to Bollywood stars, from affluents to the common man all visit to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha. On a visit to Mumbai, one should not miss the Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir one of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai
Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai
In the heart of Mumbai city The Mahalaxmi Racecourse is a one of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai. The track for horse racing is hundred years old managed by the Royal Western India Turf Club Limited (RWITCL). The game of horse racing is seasonal between November to February when the affluent society including industrialists and celebrities throng here to enjoy the games besides trying their luck. Horses galloping in competition under challenge bringing fortune to the lucky or otherwise through the oval ground bring delightful sight to the watchers. The annual Derby is the greatest racing event in Mahalaxmi Race Course. A commoner can take a view of the beautiful racecourse in fixed timings in morning and evening.
Wankhere Stadium in Mumbai
The main and largest cricket stadium in Mumbai is Wankhede Stadium named after Sri S.K Wankhede. The stadium was opened in 1974 and since then all important games are held in this stadium in preference to Mumbai's own and old Brabourn stadium. It is situated in South Mumbai and is close to Churchgate, another famous railway station in Mumbai. The stadium has a capacity for more than 45,000 viewers.
Bombay Stock Exchange
Bombay Stock Exchange is oldest stock trading centre in India as well as in Asia dating back to 1850. Till date it remains the largest stock exchange of India accounting for more than 60% of exchange business in India and stands as one of the largest in the world. It is quite rightfully situated in Mumbai, the commercial capital of India. The stock exchange building is one of the greatest landmarks of Mumbai standing on Dalal Street. Bombay Stock Exchange created a measure called BSE Sensex well regarded in equity market internationally.
Rajabai Clock Tower Mumbai
Another great landmark of Mumbai is the Rajabai Clock Tower. The tower is 91 meters in height dates back to the 1870's and is located inside the Fort campus of the University of Mumbai in South Mumbai. It is named after the mother of Premchand Roychand, a famous broker who was a founder of the Bombay Stock Exchange. He financed the entire cost while it was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, an English architect. The design reflects a fusion of Venetion and Gothic styles. It has a library with huge collection of books. The four walls of the tower have clock faces which chimes a tune every fifteen minutes. In the night the brightly lit tower looks magnificent and appropriates the reputation as a city of extreme riches.
A visitor to Mumbai will feel gleeful having touched the above great landmarks in Mumbai but he should not take that Mumbai doesn't have other landmarks on offer.